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Record number of Organic Trade Association members vote in Board election

New Board and Member of the Year announced at Annual Meeting

Maggie McNeil
(
mmcneil@ota.com
(202) 403-8514
(202) 615-7997
)
Washington , DC
US
 (
September 18, 2018
) — 

Organic Trade Association members turned out in record numbers to choose their Board leadership for 2018-2019. The association announced the results of the election at its Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 12.

Officers of the Board are Kim Dietz of The J.M. Smucker Company, re-elected as the President of the Organic Trade Association’s Board of Directors by fellow Board members; Melissa Hughes (General Counsel and Chief Mission Officer, Organic Valley), Vice President--USA; Marci Zaroff (Founder, Under the Canopy/MetaWear), Treasurer; and Perry Clutts (owner of Pleasantview Farm), Secretary. Clutts also continues to hold the Farmer seat, and chairs the association’s Farmers Advisory Council as part of that role. 

For the second year in a row, a record 37 percent of eligible member companies actively engaged in voting. In the trade association’s democratic election process, each Trade member company regardless of size gets one vote. 

In the election, Tracy Favre (Global Director of Certification Services at Quality Assurance International), Chris Jagger (owner/operator of Blue Fox Farm) and Perry Clutts were chosen to serve on the Board. In addition, the Board named David Lively, Pioneer Emeritus of Organically Grown Company, to fill one appointed seat.

Completing the Board are Doug Crabtree (owner/operator of Vilicus Farms), Bob Kaake (Innovation Director, Annie’s Inc.), Britt Lundgren (Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, Stonyfield Farm), Michael Menes (Vice President Food Safety & Technology, True Organic Products), James Sculthorpe (CEO, Yorkshire Valley Farms), Mark Squire (President, Good Earth Natural Foods), and Leslie Zuck (Common Ground Consulting).

“We look forward to what will be possible with this outstanding Board,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of the trade association. “Our Board has the vision and understanding of the opportunities that are possible for taking organic forward.” 

Dietz was elected to her first one-year term as president in 2017. She was first appointed as an Organic Trade Association director in 2014 by the Board for a three-year term, and successfully ran for election by members in 2017 for another three-year term. Dietz currently is Senior Manager for Environmental, Natural and Organic Policy for The J.M. Smucker Company.

“I am excited to continue to lead the Board. We are embarking on big bold steps to promote, protect and advance organic---including how to design a framework in which the organic sector can voluntarily invest in research, promotional and educational collaborative projects to advance organic. I am honored to be a part of this visionary Board,” said Dietz.

Completing their service on the Board are Kelly Shea of Danone North America, Rick Collins of Clif Bar and Company, and Ryan Benn of Alive Publishing Group. At the Annual Meeting, members in attendance thanked them for their commitment and service to the trade association.

Member of the Year recognized

In a highlight of the annual meeting, the Organic Trade Association was honored and excited to recognize Tim Schultz of Lundberg Family Farms as its 2018 Member of the Year. Schultz was recognized for his commitment to advancing organic through his leadership role on a number of issues affecting the organic sector. This special recognition of an individual employed by a member company is staff nominated and endorsed by the Organic Trade Association Board.

Schultz is a tireless advocate for organic in many ways. He has become the driving force behind the trade association’s Organic Rice Working Group advocating for deeper knowledge and openness with consumers concerning arsenic in rice. His advocacy efforts regularly transport him from the lush fields of Richvale, CA, to the halls of Capitol Hill. He regularly participates in congressional fly-ins and lobbying work, and has actively promoted a farm bill that addresses the needs of organic. He has been an exceptional volunteer serving on the board of Organic PAC, the only Political Action Committee devoted to organic. 

“Lundberg has been a long-time Organic Trade Association member and a pioneer in the organic movement. It has been my privilege to join the association’s advocacy of organic priorities in Congress, at FDA and USDA, as well as more recent work in Thailand. This is truly a member-focused trade association, and does an outstanding job in providing a forum for its members to collaborate to continuously improve every aspect of our industry.  I am humbled to be recognized by the Organic Trade Association, and look forward to working together to bring more organic food to consumers, and increase the footprint of organic agriculture in the U.S. and around the world,” Schultz said.

The Annual Meeting hosted by the Board of Directors also highlighted the ways members can direct and engage in the trade association’s work. Members learned more about the trade association’s “bold step” initiatives to promote, protect and advance organic. Members networked following the meeting at a reception held prior to the annual Leadership Awards Celebration.


The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace.

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